Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mackerel stewed with miso (saba no miso-ni)

It's time for lesser-known Japanese cuisine again!

Another whole mackerel was in the fridge today (I bought two yesterday). As one day has passed, eating it raw isn't a choice anymore. So I tried to cook it in a very Japanese way. It's called "saba no miso-ni" (mackerel stewed with miso). Here's a recipe:

1. Mix 400cc of water, 200cc of Japanese sake, one spoonful of sugar, one spoonful of soy sauce, and sliced ginger in a pan, and then bring it to a boil.

2. Place 130g of miso paste in a jar, add about 100cc of the "soup" made in Step 1 to it, and mix it with miso paste until the paste is dissolved into the soup. Keep this aside.

3. Add mackerel fillets to the soup made in Step 1. Place a lid onto the pan and heat gently for 5 minutes.

4. Open the lid and add half of the miso paste soup made in Step 2 to the pan. Then place the lid again and keep heating gently for another 5 minutes.

5. Open the lid and add the remaining miso paste soup and a hint of rice vinegar.

That's it! Miso paste is easy to get burned. That's why you shouldn't add miso from the beginning. A hint of rice vinegar in Step 5 makes the taste milder.

I've kept saying this since yesterday. But it was brilliant! I'm happy to be born as a Japanese. :)

Stewing fish in soup like the one made in Step 1 above is a very Japanese way of cooking fish. (The soup is not for drinking. It is just for stewing fish though we can serve stewed fish dipped in the soup.) We don't just eat raw fish as sushi.

Interestingly, I didn't like stewed fish when I was in Japan. More generally, I didn't like cooked seafood meals when I was in Japan. Since I started a life in London, I've begun missing fish. Then here I am, eager to explain a Japanese recipe for cooking fish!

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